Baquer Namazi has been returned to Evin Prison after a short medical leave lasting six days.
Responding to the news, which was announced on February 6, Baquer Namazi’s son Babak said he was “stunned and horrified" by the decision and called on President Trump to take action to bring about the release of his father and his brother Siamak, who both hold Iranian-American dual citizenship.
“How can the Iranian authorities knowingly risk my father’s life knowing it will end in a tragedy? What could they be trying to achieve?” Babak Namazi said in a statement released by the family’s lawyer.
The decision goes against the recommendations of Baquer Namazi’s doctors, who had informed Iran’s Medical Examiner that returning Namazi to prison could be extremely dangerous for him.
Officials granted Baquer Namazi, 81, temporary leave from Evin Prison from January 28 to February 2, and then extended it until Sunday, February 4. He was instructed not to speak to the media during his release.
The furlough followed a significant decline in his health: On January 15, his blood pressure dropped and his heartbeat became irregular. His physical appearance suggested ill health, with his skin taking on an unnatural color. It was the fourth time he had been admitted to a hospital over the last year, and in September 2017, he was fitted with an emergency pacemaker to save his life.
Revolutionary Guards arrested Baquer Namazi on February 22, 2016 after arresting his son Siamak on October 13, 2015 while he was in Iran on business. The father and son have both been handed down 10-year prison sentences for espionage.
Jared Genser, the Namazi family lawyer, described the move as a “reckless and dangerous course of action” and urged his “immediate release on humanitarian grounds.”
Baquer Namazi released a private statement for friends and former UNICEF colleagues. His son Babak Namazi has taken the decision to make the statement, below, public.
Statement of Baquer Namazi
February 6, 2018
To my friends and UNICEF colleagues around the world,
You know not how heartwarming and encouraging your support has been for me and my agonized family, especially for my wife Effie and son Babak.
Despite the pain inflicted upon my family and myself, I have not lost hope and continue to pray for the great humanitarian causes for which we have all dedicated our lives. To overcome the formidable challenges, much sacrifice is needed and I am willing to be one of the victims with the hope that the pain will not be in vain.
The powers that be have directed me to return to prison today despite the strong recommendation of Iran’s medical examiner and my physicians that my health cannot withstand further incarceration.
My son Siamak has suffered far more than myself and pays the price for standing up for the right of Iranian people to life-saving medicine, previously denied by sanctions.
While the pain of those dearest to me continues to hurt deeply, I am also sorry that with the help of all of you and other great humanitarians that I could not continue to serve our common cause of peace for children, especially in the sorely troubled Middle East region, elimination of poverty through people empowerment, combatting child trafficking and opening space to hear the voices of the poor.
Sustaining these great causes will be the best reward that can, God willing, be granted to this humble man.
I thank you all and I am greatly strengthened morally and otherwise by your efforts to promote justice and bring about freedom for my son and me.
God bless you all.